Labor agents (recruiters) were often sent down South from from the North during World War I when companies struggled to keep up with demand. To black Southerners, these agents were seemingly the herald of opportunity. Lawrence depicts a white labor agent writing on a sheet of yellow paper, presumably the names of new recruits. A line of men looking for work extends beyond him into the barren landscape. While Lawrence conveys a tone of hope and opportunity through these men, dark overtones of the work conditions and treatment that lie ahead of them are unavoidable.